HARD Summer 2019 was Insomniac's second attempt to salvage the festival's tarnished name. HARD's original owners tried saving the festival repeatedly, could Insomniac do any better? Could a festival stricken with lost lives and horrible heat be restored to old glories?
I remember going to my first few HARD Summers, it was the grimey festival. Home to heavy bass music, but not kandi. Hosting crowd fights, but not free water. The lineup was always top-notch if you could endure the harsh heat and crude crowds that is.
And then in 2018 with Insomniac calling the shots, they introduce "Shady Lane". It's heaven at a scorching hot rave. This sheltered walkway with lots of misters took you from Hard stage to the Harder stage with the chilliest convenience, bless your hearts Insomniac. Cue the beginning of the HARD Summer Revival.
HARD Summer Revived
The two main stages were massive with brilliant visual and lighting components. The main stage speakers were booming, anyone standing in the front got full body massages from the bass. They made the hydration stations much bigger as well, refill stops were fast. I brought one of our Hydra Nova LED hydration bags so I only had to fill up once anyway.
The crowd was exceedingly gracious, Kandi was in abundance, and totems decorated the sky. HARD Summer has finally become the thing it detested for so long, a rave.
Insomniac placed a great deal of stress on hydration and safety this year. They expanded their ground control team, a large group of friendly volunteers who make sure everyone is surviving and having fun. Kudos to you Insomniac! Did you also know Diplo made a surprise guest appearance!?
Okay well, a picture of Diplo...
The most welcomed addition, in my opinion, was the turf they added. In years past Hard Summer was second only to Burning Man for dirt tornadoes. During the post-rave shower, the bathtub would turn filthy from dirt, a beautiful reminder of how raunchy you got at HMSF.
This year I forgot my bandana and considered fleeing the country because I knew the dust was going to get me. Imagine the relief when my shoes met the turf and there was no dirt in sight.
HARD Summer Struggles
The worst thing, in my opinion, was getting out of HARD Summer. It's been a constant problem with this event. Trying to get out of the green entrance was like a pack of sheep taking their last steps, nervous and huddled together pushing and shoving with no direction. These two random dudes somehow got their hydration packs stuck together, the struggle was real.
You always hear, "I'm never coming back to HARD this is ridiculous". Getting out of a festival is never fun, it happens at almost every event. You know what they say...
But Chad, this thought occurs every year. I've said it, my friends have said it, every Brad and Carole has said it, but will they all attend in 2020? Duhhh, it's HARD Summer! Right when you think you aren't Hard anymore, the lineup gets you HARDer.
The Music + Live Sets
Insomniac seriously stepped up their B2B game this year. My favorite sets of Day 1 were Dj Snake B2B Malaa and Dillon Francis. Honorable mention to Excision B2B Nghtmre. No, I didn't get to see Shaq perform, I don't want to talk about it.
My favorite sets of Day 2 were Justin Martin and RL Grime. Honorable mention to Zhu B2B Tchami!
With Insomniac in charge I have no doubt in my mind that they are going to elevate this festival to the next level. The amount of capital and care they put into each of their events is unsurpassed by any other company around the world. The HARD Summer Revival has made me very excited for Hard Day Of The Dead in October. I can't wait to see what Insomniac has done with my favorite Halloween festival.
Thanks for reading,
if you have questions/comments you can reach me at Daniel@cosmiccobra.com and I will see you at HARD Summer 2020!
- Daniel Gersztyn
P.S. Hard Summer, more like Hot Summer am I right!? *Ba Dum Ch*
Hard Summer 2019 live sets below!
Here's a picture from HSMF 2013, me and one of my best friends dressed up as "Rave Refs". We called a penalty on this security guard for telling us to move, good times.
Back when no one used hydration packs and no one knew who illenium was.
HARD Summer 2019 Soundcloud live Sets
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